Balancing Art and Athletics
Though artists and athletes have very different tasks, both dedicate numerous hours to their craft. Artist athletes are in a unique position of combining interests, and as one myself, I’ve learned what it takes to keep both balanced. I’m currently a junior in the Scientific Illustration program and also a runner for both the cross country and our track and field programs. To put it simply, I compete year round while also managing art classes with some sciences and electives sprinkled in. It isn’t the easiest schedule, but with careful planning, I’ve still been able to thrive in both art and athletics.
Arcadia’s studio art classes are always three hours long and set between the hours of 9:00-11:50 a.m., 1:30-4:20 p.m., and 6:30-9:30 p.m. on either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are never Friday classes (which is one of my favorite perks of being an art student!). While the schedule sounds heavy, students only take two or maybe three studio courses per semester so this can level out as one studio per day, two studios every other day, and so forth.
The good part about a sport involving running is that we have lots of flexibility. There’s often a morning practice and an afternoon practice option – and if even those times don’t work, we can run on our own and log our mileage for accountability.
A typical day in my life as an artist athlete starts off with team lift twice a week at 6 a.m. afterward, I head to practice at 7 a.m. Depending on which season I’m in, I will run anywhere from 4 to 7 miles, head back to my apartment for a quick shower and change, and grab a nutrition shake to drink on the way to my morning studio class. This past year I had Scientific Illustration I in the fall and then Scientific Illustration II in the spring, so I got very used to this quick turnaround to get to my classes. We always get a break in the middle, so I like to get a coffee from Easton to keep my energy up. At noon I head back to my apartment for lunch and then I usually have one last studio in the afternoon before I make dinner, do any homework I have, and try to get to bed at a somewhat reasonable time. I have found that this type of class and practice structure works really well for me, and once I’ve gotten in a rhythm I can be very productive.
Of course, you can’t always have complete control over your schedule. Some semesters I had fewer studio courses and loved being able to focus on running without a time crunch. Other semesters, like last fall, felt nearly impossible – at my most extreme self-scheduling, twice a week I started off with 6 a.m. lift, followed by 7 a.m. practice, 9-11:50 a.m. studio, 1:30-4:20 p.m. studio, and 6:30-9:30 p.m. studio. To avoid burnout after a semester like this, the next semester I gave myself as light of a load as possible.
Artist athletes in other sports may not have as flexible a practice schedule, but though it’s hard work to keep a balance between sports and art, Arcadia makes it possible to flourish in both.